The Myths of the Mosquito Hawk
The mosquito hawk is a large, flying insect commonly mistaken for a mosquito. Despite its name, the mosquito hawk is actually a crane fly. It’s probably gotten a bad rap because it looks like a giant version of its distant cousin. There are plenty of myths surrounding this long-legged, winged insect. Let’s explore those myths and find out what’s real and what’s not.
Here are some of the most common myths:
- The mosquito hawk is a predator of mosquitoes.
- Mosquito hawks bite humans.
- The mosquito hawk is a harmful garden pest.
So, what is a mosquito hawk?
The name, “mosquito hawk,” is a misnomer. The actual name for this insect is crane fly. A crane fly is a large, fly-like insect. It has long legs and a thin body. Its wings are usually transparent with dark spots.
Crane flies are found all over the world. There are about 15,000 species of crane fly. They vary in size, some measuring just a few millimeters, but most are between 1/8 and 1 inch long.
The wingspan of some crane flies can be up to 7 inches, and their legs can be up to 4 inches long. Fortunately, you’re not likely to find any that size here. On the other hand, the average Texas-sized mosquito hawk has a wingspan of about two inches, and its legs measure around an inch, which can still look pretty scary when all splayed out.
Do mosquito hawks eat mosquitoes?
No, adult mosquito hawks do not eat mosquitoes. In fact, they don’t eat much at all. They simply lack the mouthparts for it. And that’s okay because adult crane flies live for only a few days, long enough to mate.
The larvae are voracious eaters, though. As a result, they consume large quantities of organic matter, including decayed leaves, grasses, and other decaying vegetation, which can be a huge benefit in reducing the mosquito population.
Do mosquito hawks bite humans?
The answer is no. Crane flies, aka mosquito hawks, do not bite humans. As mentioned before, they simply don’t have the mouthparts for biting. They also do not have stingers. Some people believe that mosquito hawks are a type of wasp. This is incorrect, as wasps are a completely different type of insect.
Crane flies are harmless to us. You might only feel a mosquito hawk if it flies into you, as its wings can be quite large.
What if you have too many mosquito hawks?
If you have too many mosquito hawks in your yard, there are a few things you can do to reduce their population. First, make sure that you don’t have any standing water where they can lay their eggs. This could be something as simple as an empty flower pot or birdbath. If you do have standing water, treat it with an insecticide designed to kill mosquito larvae.
You can also reduce the amount of organic matter in your yard where the larvae live and feed. This means regularly raking up leaves and trimming back any overgrown vegetation. If you have a compost pile, ensure it is adequately aerated so that the larvae can’t survive in it.
Finally, you can use a mosquito trap to catch and kill adult crane flies. These traps use light and CO2 to attract insects. Then they are sucked into a container where they dehydrate and die. If these efforts don’t help cut down on the mosquito hawk population in your yard, or you just can’t live with the idea of going near one, contact the pest control professionals at 855Bugs and schedule a FREE inspection.